India women’s team footballer Manisha Kalyan etched her name into history on Thursday, August 18, as she became the first-ever Indian to play in the UEFA Champions League.
Kalyan made her official debut for Cyprus champions Apollon Ladies FC in the top flight European competition against Latvian club SFK Riga. The young striker came on in the 60th minute of the match as a substitute for Marilena Georgiou at the Makareio Stadium in Engomi. The Cyprus champions registered an emphatic 3-0 victory in their tournament opener. Even though Manisha Kalyan couldn’t get on the score sheet, the occasion itself was a proud moment for every Indian football fan.
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The 20-year-old became the fourth Indian woman to be signed by an overseas club. She landed a multi-year contract with the Apollon Ladies FC earlier this year.
Hailing from a small village in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, Kalyan has come a long way to be honed as one of the most prolific strikers in India. With the Champions League debut, Kalyan has hogged the limelight and has become a national sensation.
Social media was flooded with appreciation for the young striker. Here is how Twitter reacted to Kalyan’s supreme feat.
India’s ace goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu expressed his joy on Kalyan’s debut. “Tracking the updates where Manisha Kalyan becomes the first Indian footballer to play in a Champions League game. What a moment, and what a hero. What she’s gone through and done needs to be spoken about louder,” Sandhu tweeted.
Tracking the updates where Manisha Kalyan becomes the first Indian footballer to play in a Champions League game ⭐️What a moment, and what a hero. What she's gone and done needs to be spoken about louder 👏— Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (@GurpreetGK) August 18, 2022
The ISL side Kerala Blasters Women wrote, “Kalyan becomes the first ever Indian player to play in the UEFA Women’s Champions League! Congratulations Manisha.”.
അഭിനന്ദനങ്ങൾ മനീഷ! 👏🏻Manisha Kalyan becomes the first ever Indian player to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League! 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/zlEY95ejqK
— Kerala Blasters Women (@KeralaBlastersW) August 19, 2022
Kalyan has proved her mettle with some stellar performances for both Team India and the Gokulam Kerala in the Indian Women’s League. She had her shot at fame when she scored a jaw-dropping goal against Brazil in an international friendly. The Haryana born was recently named the AIFF Women’s Footballer of the year for the 2021-22 season.
Manisha Kalyan will be back in action when her side squares up against FC Zurich Frauen in UCL on August 21.
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